Many people love a surprise, but surprises related to health insurance and other employee benefits are not usually well received. Open enrollment is a prime opportunity to not only help employees with their insurance needs, but also to provide them with the information that they need regarding coverage changes, when they should receive their ID cards, and other concerns. This is not a time to wing it, having a well-structured plan is the best way to approach employee benefits. As a result, your staff will feel more confident and relaxed while your employees will be better informed.
1. Give ample notice of the open enrollment period with a timeline and plan.
Let employees know well in advance when the open enrollment period will begin and how long it will last. A checklist or planner will help them prepare and seek assistance if needed. Include information on coverage needs and budget constraints, any changes to the current plan, comparisons to other plans, and be available to answer questions.
2. Create a list of potential questions and answers.
If you anticipate certain questions, assemble them with their answers in a handout that you can provide in the employee benefits packet prior to the beginning of open enrollment. Include information for contacting you to discuss the specifics of their own situation. This can also be used by your staff to help them prepare for fielding questions.
3. Provide usable information that employees can apply to their own circumstances.
It is okay to compile more general information for employee packets, but when talking to employees individually, you want to speak to their specific situations. Give them information that they can apply to those situations that they can actually use. A person’s work environment has a significant impact on how they receive, process, and use information – and the type of benefits they need, so keep that in mind when you meet with them.
4. Structure your messaging to be transparent and informative.
Just as coverage can change from one enrollment period to the next, so can people’s needs. Maintain a practice of transparency about coverage changes and cost increases while providing vital information on the benefits. Helping employees identify key features that fit their own unique needs means providing a lot of information. Calculators and tools that allow for comparing plans are very useful for this purpose. Avoid passive enrollment and help employees get the coverage that they actually need.